Introducing… Kevin Harper

Our Introducing... series focuses on artists who we think are worth shouting about. Here we have ex-Little Eskimos mainman, Kevin Harper, on his solo jaunt.

Posted on Jul 22nd, 2013 in Features and Interviews, Kevin Harper / By Larry Day
Introducing… Kevin Harper Here at Bearded we aim to shed light on acts who don't necessarily have giant labels or muscley budgets waving banners behind them. This Introducing series will focus on artists who we think are great, regardless of how much hype surrounds them or where their origin story lays.

Name: Kevin Harper
Location: Alloa, Scotland
Genre: DIY Alt. Rock
Similar Artists: Little Eskimos, Rocky Votolato
Contact: Facebook
Events: Debut LP, Kingdom Of Wires, available for download here

After the embers of Little Eskimos died unemphatically away, former lead singer Kevin Harper rose from the ashes like a proud phoenix, eager to jet off on his own lone-wolf endeavours. The Alloa singer-songwriter got to work, frantically recorded, playing, writing, slaving, producing, mixing and tinkering with/on/at his debut record, Kingdom Of Wires. Harper is a major fan of DIY music, and all manner of late '80s/early '90s post-grunge/alt. rock, such as Pixies, Pavement and Smashing Pumpkins. These acts don't seem to have much bearing on anything except his lyrical tone and emotional intensity, as his sound is closer to a delirious amalgam of alt. country, post-folk, rock, pop, indie, electronica, slackerwave, shoegaze, college rock, pop-punk (phew, time for a brether...) and the more traditional singer-songwriter fare. It's tough to pigeonhole, but oh so easy to adore.

The most vital track of Harper's is Kingdom Of Wires' title track. It's a shimmering, anthemic ballad. Engaging from the off with twinkling guitar riffs and fuzzy drum machine ticks, Harper's sublime dulcet tones echo over an ever-expanding choir of instruments; synths glide in, needly fretwork sidles across the forefront and shuffly percussion rattles underfoot. It's a cut wrought with heavyweight feelings: “Once I had a brother a friend for a lifetime/ until he left us, he suddenly left us,” ignites a bubbling, stomach-churning realisation that the song is about death, loss and all the worst bits of living. Although it's an enormous track worthy of blaring out across stocked fields of festival punters, it's deeply moving.

Though rooted in Scotland, Harper evokes a multitude of Americanities. His guitar lines are all soaring, heady licks that reverberate around your head, simultaneously introspectively west-coast lo-fi and glistening high-production pop. He incorporates a kind of southern country storytelling and acoustic-guitar playing into the fray – we all know that country music (AKA Americana) is very much an other-side-of-the-pond affair. Harper excels at making it engrossing for us in the UK, injecting his own folk/pop twang on the jangliness of the genre.

Kevin Harper has been dubbed one of the “Most accomplished songwriters in Scotland,” by The Pop Cop. They can't be far wrong. His innate knack for sculpting wonderful guitar-pop and indulgent rock sounds is a jaw-dropping talent – you don't come across many singer-songwriters (who also do all the technical bits too) that are as adept at choruses as Harper. Even though there's a big focus on hooks and earworms, he never lets a lapse of heart occur; he always manages to make you feel something with his music.